Droning On

Current Legal and Industry Insight for Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

The benefits of commercial drones are substantial. However, current rules limit the commercial marketplace from being able to take advantage of some of drone technology’s most obvious safety and efficiency benefits. To capitalize on the life-saving and economic benefits of drones, companies need to be able to fly in urban and suburban environments, where people are. To respond to disasters, they may need to fly near cities. Countless commercial drone use cases rely on the…
The commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones) market is taking off in the United States and around the world. Recent innovations have transformed what used to be considered toys into powerful tools that provide substantial safety and efficiency benefits to the commercial industry, governmental institutions, and the public. However, many of the most promising drone-use cases require the ability to fly long distances beyond the range of human sight. Whether drones are being used…
The Federal Communications Commission is proposing to bring a $2.8 million penalty against HobbyKing for marketing drone-attachable audio/video (AV) transmitters that operate on unauthorized frequencies. For marketers and retailers of unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) and attachable devices, this penalty signals that the FCC is cracking down on the makers and marketers of noncompliant UAS and UAS-attachable devices. This penalty also serves as a reminder to operators, who are required to have an FCC license to…
Last year, for the first time, the FAA broadly authorized commercial drones here in the United States. Since that time, the commercial drone industry has grown to a level few could have imagined only a couple of years ago. Technology has moved quickly forward, and what used to be considered toys are now powerful commercial tools that are bringing economic and safety benefits to a wide range of industries. As drone technology has improved, we…
Drones are the future of transportation and information technology. Recent innovations have transformed what used to be considered toys into powerful tools that provide substantial safety and efficiency benefits to commercial industry, educational institutions, humanitarian NGOs, and the public.  Once properly enabled, the integration of drones into our nation’s National Airspace System will save countless lives and have a significant economic impact here in the United States. However, many of the safety and efficiency benefits…
In the last few weeks, both houses of Congress have released draft FAA Reauthorization bills to continue FAA funding which runs out this fall. While the House bill’s proposal to privatize air traffic control in the United States has garnered the most attention, both the House and Senate bills contain lengthy and significant legislative language that could have a dramatic effect on commercial and hobbyist drone operations in the United States.  Below is a brief…
In Europe, the United States and countries around the world, drone technology is advancing rapidly, and what used to be considered toys are quickly becoming powerful commercial tools that can provide enormous benefits in terms of safety and efficiency. However, before some of the most innovative drone applications can become reality, including things like package delivery and long-range infrastructure inspections, most countries, particularly those with more congested airspace, will need some form of a low-altitude…
Drone technology has advanced rapidly over the last decade, and this technology has become a valuable tool for many industries on a global scale.  The commercial and consumer uses for drones have grown exponentially, and the industry is poised to see aggressive growth. With commercial and hobbyist drones filling our skies, policymakers have increasingly expressed security concerns. How can law enforcement mitigate potential threats? What security concerns do flights over people, beyond visual line of sight,…
Following serious incidents of civilian drones entering the airspace of Chinese airports and causing flight delays last April, China’s civil aviation authority has issued the Real-name Registration of Civil Unmanned Aircraft Administrative Provisions, with effect from May 16, 2017, in an effort to increase accountability for drone use by requiring owners and manufacturers of civilian-use unmanned aircraft systems to complete “real-name” registration procedures.…
In a ruling issued today, the the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the FAA’s Registration Rule for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones) that are operated for recreational purposes, otherwise known as “model aircraft.” If the ruling stands, hobbyist and recreational drone enthusiasts will no longer be required to register their drones with the FAA.  The ruling does not affect existing requirements for commercial operators to register their UAS…